Wednesday, January 04, 2012

An amateur British metal-detector has found what they believe to be a brothel token, the first ever unearthed there. On one side is a couple in a lewd act and on the other is the number XIIII, or 14. Which is believed to be the value of the token, possibly the the cost of the depicted act. What's odd to me is that I thought 14 was represented by XIV, not XIIII.

The Suárez-Evra saga bubbles on, with Suárez persisting in his scarcely credible claims that negro/nigger is not an insult in Uruguay, that it's even a term of affection there and that Evra's own team mates were in the habit of using it towards him. What he doesn't seem to get is that all of that is irrelevant to how the term is seen in the country in which he plays his football and by Evra himself. If he wants any evidence of its total unacceptability, all he needs to do is read the newspaper reports and note that they may spell out concha de tu mama but use six asterisks instead of nigger.

On to more important things . . . . The news about the EU economy in general - and the Spanish economy in particular - is dire. The columnist Bruce Anderson stresses that all David Cameron can do is talk about the need for a big bazooka, in which Germany underwrites the eurozone’s liabilities. This upsets the rest, for two reasons. They know that it is the only solution. They also know that it is not going to happen. That said, no one knows what is going to happen. Surrounded by the wreckage of their system, some Eurofanatics are still asking for more time. The Marxists used to do the same. It is now time for the federasts to follow the Inquisition, Apartheid and the Marxists – out of history. More here.

On the same theme, eurosceptic Daniel Hannan writes that while David Cameron struck an upbeat and patriotic note, the chanting from the palaces and chanceries of Europe was like some monkish threnody. Nicolas Sarkozy called for stoicism in the face of 'the worst economic crisis since the war'. Angela Merkel said that 2012 would 'without question be worse than 2011'. Mariano Rajoy announced the end of mid-week public holidays, telling his countrymen, 'this is no time for fiestas'. Such pronouncements beg the question. The reason that the eurozone faces such hard times is that its leaders have decided to keep the single currency together at any cost. The coming recession is not some inexorable force of nature; it is a consequence of the policies being pursued by Merkozy, Monti, Barroso and the rest. The Brussels elites are refusing to learn anything from their mistakes. They are applying the same policies that got Europe into this mess, only harder. Had they prepared for an orderly unbundling of the euro three years ago, a great deal of pain might have been avoided. Now, there are no easy options, but a restoration of at least some national currencies is plainly the least bad alternative. In refusing to countenance it, Eurozone leaders are showing a chilling disregard for the material well-being of their electorates.

Reader Moscow and I used to cross swords on this subject a year or two back but I haven't heard from him for a while. Perhaps he isn't reading any more. But, if he is, and if he'd like a platform from which to give an optimistic view of the euro's future, I'm happy to provide it here. Meanwhile, the Spanish unemployment figures - already appallingly high - continue to grow. While those in Germany continue to fall. Some say because the euro is too high for one country and too low for the other.

I was ruminating today on the way the statue of St James in Santiago cathedral was manipulated to obscure the slaughter of Moors beneath the horses' hooves. Specifically, I was trying to remember whether I'd seen any examples of Muslim sensitivity. All I could come up with was the large friezes on the palace walls in Persepolis in Iran. Where representatives of the many subject nations are paraded in neck halters behind their Persian masters. But I guess the latter were Zaroastrians as it's well before the Muslim invasion of Iran. And indeed before the destruction of Persepolis by Alexander the Great.

Finally . . . There exist web sites which will give you all the anagrams of your name. The first one thrown up for me was Sad evil icon. Which is nice. But there are many, many more.


Unknown said...

Negro is absolutely not equivalent, not even close, to nigger. Negro means "black". That doesn't mean it can't be insulting.

Using negro to denote that someone is black "Mi mecánico es negro" is the correct, and indeed the only way in spanish of saying that your mechanic is black (though the reason that made you want to specify that he was black might be questionable).

Refering to someone as "un negro" is somewhat insulting as it implies that being black is his main characteristic, above that of being a person. As in "Vi a unos negros pasando por la calle".

Calling someone directly "negro" is tricky. It can sound nasty, as in "Oye negro, que miras?" That could be translated as "What are you looking at, negro/darkie/black boy?" but not as "What are you looking at, nigger?". It's offensive, but nowhere near that level.

Confusingly, negro is indeed an extremely common term of endearment among latin american and african immigrants. They use it among each other constantly. As in seemingly every other sentence. Including when the recipient is not really dark-skinned. In the phrase "Que haces esta tarde, negro?" It's something as "What are you doing this afternoon, dude/pal/man?" They use it pretty much as spaniards use "tío" for dude/pal. A caucasian spaniard should probably avoid using "negro" in that way, though. But latin americans? Wether Suárez did or didn't want to use "negro" as an insult, he's absolutely correct that the word is commonly used in a completely non-insulting, endearing way.

Sudaca, however is a term used for latin americans and is unambiguously nasty. It's probably the most offensive word you can use in spanish (from spain) nowadays. I wouldn't say it's quite at the level of nigger, but I have seen people getting beaten up instants after having used it. Sometimes people use it among each other in a friendly way, but it's always in an ironic context. If Evra called Suárez a "sudaca" he is clearly in the wrong, and answering with "negro", instead of an elbow to the face is quite restrained.

Colin said...

All points, gratefully, taken.

I wonder, though, whether any form of the word ´negro´ comes close to ´nigger' in English.

You say 'negro' can be insulting. Is this a question of tone? Or does it need accompanying noises, like the monkey chatter which greeted some English football players in Madrid a few years back?

Yes, I agree that Evra would be in the wrong, if he used 'sudaca' but I also agree with the ajudicatory panel that Suárez undermined his case for the 'affectionate' use of 'negro' by resorting to it between 7 and 10 times. And, of course, the more he stressed the insulting
nature of 'sudaca' the more he underlined his contention that his response was light-hearted and affectionate.

Yes, it's a minefield for us Anglos, for whom 'cabrón' would carry no weight at all.

Thanks again.

Incidentally, I believe negroes in the UK use the N word between themselves. And in (rap) music.
as gays use the word queer among themselves. But this is not allowed to the rest of us.

Memorial Hall said...

I'm the guy from above. I thought I was logged in.

A caucasian spaniard calling someone "negro" directly (as in oye, negro...) will always be considered somewhere between insensitive and insulting, depending on tone. But to make it really bad you will need to combine it with something else, such as intimidating eye contact, a particularly nasty inflexion on the word, or using a phrase such as "negro de mierda", which unfortunately is extremely common (and which I'd say is about as insulting as "sudaca").

Having read some more on the matter it does seem that suarez was being a racist prick. "Negro, negro, negro..." pretty much sounds intended to insult (blackie, blackie, blackie... as the guardian wrote seems like a good translation). In the phrases "porque tu eres negro" and "no hablo con negros", negro is used non offensively meaning simply "black", but the phrases themselves show he wanted to be hurtful (if he actually said them). However, if he had said negro 10 times in a different context, using it as "dude/man/pal" it would have just been 10 innocuous words.

Spain (and latin america too) is quite racist. But we have our own ways of being racist, we don't need to borrow anyone else's. The monkey noises in the stadium were clearly racist. And children pretending to speak like savages because they were playing africans in a school play is, at minimum, insensitive. But them paining their faces black, or the spanish basketball olympic team pulling their eyes to look asian is considered cute and endearing towards them by us. A sort of celebration of phisical differences, which spaniards seem to be fascinated by. And it seems to be offensive only to americans and the british, who prefer not to awknoledge phisical differences between races, or do so very carefully, avoiding any exageration. Compare that with the caricatures of footballers you can find in the press here. I might be wrong on that, but it seems no one in china or spain minded about the olympic incident, only the english-language press. Though now I would like to ask blacks and asians living in spain what they think of these things.

Victor said...

I think some very valid observations & comments have been made today on this subject. As for myself being of mixed race parentage I can say that I have personally been on the receiving end of such comments as a child & adult in Coruna where my mothers family reside. I can honestly say that nobody has ever addressed me as "negro/negrito" in a +ve manner. The last time I experienced being on the receiving end of this term was walking with my late mother past a bar in Coruna when a young man standing at the doorway made a comment to his pal that the woman (my mother)would be having "filete negro" tonight. As you can imagine this did not go down well with my mother who promptly rammed her umbrella in his face as he wrongly assumed that neither of of us could understand him. This "hero" promptly scarpered down the road.

Azra said...

I saw that coin in a picture, I reckon we should all go digging around in the Thames to see what we can find:)

Suarez is an idiot. Most South Africans believe his current situation is a result of bad karma... for that handball during the 2010 World Cup.

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